The information contained in this column is for bands who want to run a publishing company for their own songs, not for someone who wants to be a full-fledged publishing company for many artists' songs.

I have previously written about what a publishing company does, but I will briefly summarize it again. A publishing company collects money for songwriters. A songwriter makes money every time his or her song is on the radio, every time it is on television/video/movies, and every time someone manufactures a record/tape/CD. This money comes from the songwriter's ownership of the copyright. A publishing company collects this money for the songwriter, keeps some as its fee, and gives the rest to the songwriter.

Here is how a publishing company collects the money for a songwriter. First, for every song the band records and releases, fill out a BMI or ASCAP form. You will remember that your publishing company and each band member belongs to either BMI or ASCAP. Both performing rights societies require you to fill out a form for each song. The information on the form asks for each songwriter and what percentage they will receive. The second half asks for who the publisher is. Fill in the name of your publishing company in this section. BMI and ASCAP monitor how often songs are played on the radio (among other things). They take that money and give half to the writers directly and half to the publishing company.

The second area of income from publishing companies comes from mechanical royalties. A band (through the publishing company) is entitled to mechanical royalties every time the record label makes a copy of their tape or CD. Currently, a copyright owner received 7.1¢ per song per copy. This means if the band wrote 10 songs on their CD, they will receive 71¢ per CD. Seventy-one cents multiplied by 100,000 adds up. This is publishing money which the publishing company must collect. Fortunately, just like BMI and ASCAP, there is a company that performs this function as well. Contact The Harry Fox Agency at (212) 370- 5330. They will require you to fill out a form very similar to the BMI/ASCAP forms. It will identify the songwriter and the publishing company. Harry Fox will do the rest.

The Harry Fox Agency can also negotiate synchronization licenses for you as well. A synchronization license is one you grant to television to play your song accompanied by video images. There is a small fee, but a band's publishing company should avail itself of the Harry Fox Agency's experience in such matters.

Finally, a band's publishing company will want to enter into sub-publishing deals for foreign countries. Since you don't have the ability to collect money in Europe, your publishing company enters into a sub-publishing deal for other countries. The details are beyond the scope of this month's column, but foreign publishing operates similarly to the procedures detailed above.

As you can see, a publishing company is charged with collecting money, but they can use BMI/ASCAP, the Harry Fox Agency, and foreign sub-publishers to collect the money for them. Therefore, for the band who wants to operate their own publishing company, it really isn't too difficult.

There are a few other areas of publishing income but they are of little significance (meaning there is little money in it). Once again, I don't recommend a band start a publishing company until they have a record contract or their song is receiving radio play on commercial radio. These are the main sources of revenue from publishing so if you don't have either, you are wasting your money. Wait for the appropriate time in your career to start a publishing company. But when you do, this will have given you some guidance.

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